As readers will know, we have asked all election candidates to answer a few simple questions, those who have replied we shall share with you their replies online. Today we can feature Dennis Richards who is standing in the Butt Lane Ward.
Name: Dennis Richards
Ward : Butt Lane
What do you do for a living / what is your background outside of politics?
I am a hypnotherapist and stress management consultant. My previous background includes working in IT, government finance and education. I have worked in both the public and private sectors gaining skills in financial and management accounting, negotiating, chairing meetings and communication.
What are the main local issues impacting on your ward?
Empty properties and vacant land are a concern. As well as looking unsightly, these properties can give rise to antisocial behaviour and flytipping. There are also some buildings that are unsafe and need to be demolished. Parking is an issue in some areas of the ward and ensuring new developments do not make this worse is important. Traffic congestion around Congleton Road is becoming an increasing problem. There have been issues over the management of Butt Lane Community Centre which are now being resolved. Although crime statistics are down, it is important that we keep them down.
What are you going to do to address these issues?
I will work with the Borough Council empty properties officer to help get these properties let or sold. I will work with local police to reduce antisocial behaviour and also work with partners to improve youth facilities. I will continue to work with Buildings Control officers to protect the public from dangerous buildings. I will work with others at Butt Lane Community Centre to ensure it is managed in an open and efficient way and encourage a range of activities for the whole community. I will campaign for money to be spent on policing rather than empty buildings and do what I can to assist the move of the Police Station into the Town Hall.
Why should residents vote for you to be their Newcastle Borough Councillor?
Over the last four years I have proven that I am an effective committee chairman and ward councillor at Newcastle Borough Council. I have helped change planning applications which could have had a negative impact on residents' lives and helped to make the Butt Lane Community Centre management more transparent. I have dealt promptly with residents' issues such as parking, footpaths, noise and open spaces. I will campaign for a state-of-the art leisure centre in Kidsgrove and an integrated, disabled-friendly transport hub in Kidsgrove. I will also work hard to keep a mail collection service in Kidsgrove and seek government funding to improve the shopping facilities in Kidsgrove. As a member of the Liberal Democrat Group at Newcastle Borough Council I have supported the Council's drive to keep council tax low while delivering quality services, such as the award-winning recycling service and financial controls commended by the Audit Commission. Liberal Democrats were also responsible for ensuring development money went to improving Congleton Road. I also live and shop in Butt Lane, so I am close to the issues that concern its residents.
We would like to thank Dennis Richards for taking the time to share this information with local residents.